Front Foot: Open or Closed
Barry Bonds' front foot peeling open during swing
A local training facility has recently drawn my attention to the front foot. I see both open and closed while looking at some footage of the big league hitters.
Which should it be? Open or closed?
Swing Smarter Response:
Hey Robert, great question and one I've changed my mind about since the Winter of 2011. I was always taught, "front foot closed, back foot pivot."
I mean NO disrespect to the legend of a High School Coach that said these words, but both of these cues damage a swing, and let me tell you why...
I first questioned the "front foot closed" part when I watched a Mike Epstein DVD. Epstein described the front foot closed as a hindrance to the hips opening up. I now believe this, and think a 45 degree angle with the front foot as being optimal. I did this automatically without knowing it during my career. My front foot always seemed to peel open during my swing, and I spent so much time fighting for a closed front foot...
I got Smarter, you see...
If we hip thrust correctly (Chas Pippitt told me this), then you'll see the front foot peel during and after impact. Just think of rotational guys like Bonds after their swings.
In other words, if we keep the front foot closed off, then our hips fight getting through. I actually like to turn my toe a little open in my stance before the swing, similar to what Ted Williams used to do. I feel like I can create more hip torque that way.
IMPORTANT: the key is how much inward tension (Swing Smarter Bestest 5 Drills #1) we create between our thighs and how well we execute the Double Knee Inside Load (Chas on Baseball Hitting Rebellion dot com).
The back foot pivot is a debate for another day, and I won't get into it too much here, but...
In a nutshell, "back foot pivot," promotes the ankle turning the knee, which turns the hip...this can't be further from the truth and uses small muscles to turn big muscles...the hip should turn the knee, which should delay the ankle until it has to turn from the torque of the knee.
I hope this helps amigo, and once again thanks for your participation on Swing Smarter! :)